Three common productivity mistakes (and how to fix them)

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you still fail at productivity. You are constantly struggling against the deadline and you cannot finish anything on time.

How could you fix this? Well, a good way to start is taking the time to have an honest look at your productivity mistakes. I did, and here’s what I found out.

“Know Thyself”

Have you ever woken up in the morning and think “How am I going to do all those things??”, or lived with the constant feeling of being late for everything, of things skipping your control and generally feeling exhausted? When this happened to me, I simply blamed it the fact that was “a lot of work to do”.

Because in the end, I thought I was productive – only, I wasn’t.

At one point, I decided it was time to stop and solve the situation. I took a deep look at my daily work. I started to be more careful not of what I was doing, but how I was doing it. And I discovered a few productivity mistakes that were silently dragging me down.

Productivity bad habits

1. Multitasking

We have said it many times, and we will do it again. Multitasking, even though it has been praised in the past as a must-have skill, can actually do more harm than good. The human mind simply can’t multitask.

I used to do too many things at the same time, and as a result, I kept losing focus, made more mistakes, while constantly feeling stressed.

How to fix this: don’t multitask. Just. Don’t. I know that in the fast and challenging times we are living, that’s easier said than done. Try to work smarter instead: sort your tasks by priority, pick one and work on it until it is done. It will make the difference, believe me.

2. Perfectionism

Reading an email 10 times before sending. Checking my posts over and over again before publishing on social media. Compulsively re-reading my presentation_1/presentation_2_0/presentiation-definitive-final-approved. Eventually, I never finished anything, wasted time and was always late for deadlines.

[DISCLAIMER: I am absolutely NOT advocating sloppy work. Of course, you have to check, re-read and double check. But you have to draw a line between what is really necessary, and what is, in fact, procrastination in disguise.]

How to fix this: silence your inner perfectionist. Be accurate in your work, but don’t set up impossible standards.  

3. Constantly saying “YES”

We always try to do our best, we want to make a good impression, and keep our reputation of efficient, reliable colleagues. We tend to say “yes” to every request, and our to-do list ends up growing and growing until it isn’t manageable anymore: taking on too much is a disaster waiting to happen.

How to fix this: Be cooperative and open, but sometimes, a firm no is better than a shy yes. Simply explain why you can’t do that task right now. If it just has to be done, negotiate deadlines or, if possible, delegate to one of your colleagues.

Knowing yourself and being honest about your good and – of course- bad habits is the first step to improving your daily productivity.
So, what about you? Are you guilty of any of those mistakes? What are your secret recipes for improving your productivity? Make sure to share your experiences in the comments below or chat with us on Twitter.

Have a productive day!

About Stefania

CMO at Timeneye, making sure the world knows how cool time tracking is. She believes that with careful planning and organization, anything is possible. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don't seem to appreciate that).